The Key Steps for Getting Featured on Spotify Playlists

Create your playlist plan with a handy roadmap, and start pitching.
The Key Steps for Getting Featured on Spotify Playlists
How-tos
Sara Mekinc

In today’s streaming environment, Spotify playlists are where it’s at. Spotify has revealed that since 2015, people worldwide have already spent over 2B hours – that’s more than 266 thousand years – streaming music from their Discovery Weekly playlists alone.

Getting onto Spotify playlists and reaching millions of listeners is the goal for a lot of artists out there. To help you reach it, we've created a short roadmap. 

But first, a word of advice.

If you’re an up-and-coming artist or are working with one, you shouldn’t count on Spotify as a revenue source, but as a promotional channel. Sure, there are artists out there who've landed a spot on a popular playlist, but such cases are extremely rare. You’ll be better off if you approach your potential features strategically, not just counting on your lucky stars.

Follow these steps to increase your chances of getting on Spotify playlists:

➡️ Study the playlists you want to be featured on and how to approach them.

➡️ Polish your Spotify profile, uploads and online presence.

➡️ Submit your music to Spotify.

➡️ Pitch your music to playlist curators.

➡️ Get ahead by using music analytics.

Alright, let’s break down each step.

#1 Study the playlists you want to be featured on and how to approach them

There are thousands of Spotify playlists out there. Generally, they can be sorted into three groups:

  • editorial (curated by the Spotify team or owned and managed by major labels and media),
  • individual (curated by “regular people” (Spotify users) or independent media and labels), and
  • algorithmic (created by Spotify’s algorithms).
Spotify playlists and moods

You name it, there’s probably several playlists for it. 

Editorial playlists are extremely competitive because of their influence and reach, so getting on individual playlists could be a more realistic initial goal. Take some time to listen and research, and create a list of playlists you think would be a good fit for your tracks.

See who owns the playlists you’re interested in, and create a list with their names and contact info. More often than not, the authors will publish their email address for submissions themselves. In other cases, you can easily find their social media profiles by googling them a bit.

As for algorithmic playlists: you can increase your chances of getting onto them by polishing up your profile and submitting tracks like a pro (see below). Pitching to human-curated playlists, however, takes a more personalized approach.

#2 Polish your Spotify profile, uploads and other channels

The first step of the pitching process is making sure your profile looks professional. Upload appealing, high-resolution photos for your profile and covers, write a short bio, and keep the descriptions and social media links as up to date as possible.

Umek's Spotify profile

Here’s how UMEK approaches his About section. 

Become a verified artist and get that blue checkmark next to your name, indicating that you’re “legit”. By doing so, you’ll also be able to pitch your tracks directly to Spotify.

Don’t forget to create your own playlists. Mix tracks by other artists in with your own. A playlist with around 25 tracks is said to work best.

Be active on Spotify and release new music regularly. By focusing on growing your followers and having your tracks appear in their Release Radar, you’ll increase your chances of getting noticed by Spotify's algorithms. 

Use the Artist Pick tool to highlight the releases you most want your audience to hear. And perhaps most importantly – make sure to upload quality tracks. If your mixing and mastering is next to perfect, you’ll greatly increase your chances of getting playlisted.

"Artist pick" section on Umek's Spotify profile

The “Artist Pick” is hard not to notice. 

Another “hack” that will increase your playlist chances is having a managed and attractive online presence outside of Spotify. When curators or potential new followers go check you out – and they WILL check you out – they’ll expect to see social media profiles with recent content, so do spend some time on that.

#3 Submit your music to Spotify

Once you have a verified profile, you can submit your upcoming releases for playlist consideration. Simply log in to Spotify for Artists (submissions only work on desktop), and go to “Submit from next release” under your “Home” tab. Then, select a song and fill out the recommendation metadata.  

Focus on your “catchiest” song, the one with the most potential, and, as already said, make sure the production value is high.

Make sure to include metadata in your files (details such as artist name, song title, writer, producer, genre, track duration etc.) and the submission form. Why? Because that not only makes music distributors and industry pros take you more seriously, it also helps the algorithms guide listeners to your profile correctly.

Working the algorithms and pitching to independent curators at the same time can increase your chances of getting noticed by “bigger” curators or even the Spotify's team.

#4 Pitch your music to playlist curators

Once you have your contact list of playlist curators, start working them. Take time to personally approach each one and introduce yourself briefly and confidently. Explain that you’ve been listening to their playlist, tell them why you think your music would be a good fit, communicate why your work has potential (how are you different from others?) and how they can benefit from featuring you – for example, how you can bring new listeners to their playlist.

If the playlist is owned by blogs or media, a good online review or mentions might increase your chances as well. Check out their channels and explore your reviewing options. Maybe you can start by giving them a shoutout on Twitter or leaving a review on their Spotify podcast. You don’t have to write anything you don’t want to – keeping it short, simple and honest is more than enough.

Umek's Spotify playlist

Sometimes, the titles are a dead giveaway of the playlist’s focus.  

As far as timing is concerned, pitch your work at least two weeks ahead of its scheduled release. Make sure you give the curators and/or Spotify editors enough time to listen to your submission and consider you. Some artists even suggest pitching as early as a month before the release.

If you land a playlist spot, tell the world about it. Work as your own PR manager – go to your channels to thank the curator for including you, and strategically work your posts for maximum exposure. Remember, really breaking through takes time, so make playlisting a part of your broader promotional strategy.

#5 Get ahead by using music analytics.

Researching Spotify playlists takes considerable time and effort. You might consider trying a tool that helps you save on both. With Spotify analytics on Viberate, you can examine your own Spotify stats along with those of other artists releasing on Spotify, and gain valuable insights into playlists.

You can look into an artist you respect and check out which playlists they appear on. You’ll see if there are any patterns you could copy to your own advantage – for example, which types of playlists they appear on, what their prevailing genre is, and which tracks appear on playlists the most.

Give it a go and see for yourself. Start your free trial here.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Create and keep a list of playlists that might be a good fit for your tracks, with the contact info of their curators.
  • Keep your Spotify profile – and your other channels – appealing and professional-looking.
  • Upload and pitch only highest-quality tracks with accurate metadata.
  • Work the contacts one by one.
  • Use Viberate analytics for insights into Spotify playlists and artists.

 

Sara Mekinc

Sara Mekinc

Content Specialist at Viberate
Avid concert-goer, a sucker for creative wordsmithery, and 100 % biodegradable. Google "melomaniac".